Saturday, April 9, 2011

Ninjaboi's review of ABDC's Lil Wayne Challenge

RATING SCALE: So one thing I’m (in)famous for is my use of numbers in judging crews.  Some may disagree but I find it works out fairly decently. Each performance will be out of 40 points, divided as such
10 – Choreography:  There are basically two ways to dance, as I see it.  There’s freestyling, which is the root of all dance.  Then there’s performances.  Performances are further broken up into two parts.  “Wow” moments which are meant to keep your memory on that routine, and “Choreography” which is everything else.  This section looks at how good the choreography wise – this is musicality wise, how much swagger, how complicated, etc.
10 – Wow Moments:  As explained above, Wow moments are when you create a moment that sticks in people’s minds.  This can either be tricks, to crazy isolations, to some “story moment.”  However, if we see the wow moment coming that takes away from it.  The way you build up into the moment is just as important as the moment
10 – Showmanship: This is a variety of things.  Almost a miscellaneous category if you will.  Just off the top of my head, this includes: Appropriate Energy Level, Stage Use, Blocking/Framing, Transitions, Concept, Clean, Musicality, Pacing, Any real small thing that adds to the performance as a whole.
10 – Improvement: Usually this would be to see how well crews improve each week and work on their problems because one common theme of good crews on ABDC is constant improvement.  For this first week, this would be looking at how good a first impression they made.

Just for reference: 10 is perfect.  7 is average.  5 is barely passable.  Anything below that is… very weak.  So Average would be a 28, for reference.

Also, I’m human.  I have biases.  So I’m going to take a percentage off the score of crews that I’m biased for.  Right now, I’m a tad biased for for Instant Noodles for next week.  So I’m taking 10% off of IN’s score.
I.aM.mE (IME) – Right Above It.
Choreo – First, let me say that I have no opposition to reusing choreo that they’ve used from before the show.  So them using Brain Bang is not an issue for me.  That being said, they did rely more on their wow moments than a choreography.  They did have some moments, mostly of them swagging out, in typical Southern swagger.  Overall, not bad especially if they wanted to give the world a taste of their Brain Bangin’.  But lacking more choreography (which I know they can do) won’t help them in the long run.  Score: 7/10
Wow – Simply put, IME has created some of the best visuals I have seen out of a crew ever. They also didn’t rely only on their tutting and isolations.  They had those flips outta Emilio, and the cannons at the end.  Even if we’ve seen it before, it looks better on the stage.  Score: 10/10
Showmanship – While they had a great concept, there are a few critiques I have.  First, Energy was a bit low key. Secondly, Like JC said they were a bit too tight.  While it was necessary for Brain Bangin’, maybe exploding out then suddenly collapsing back in would have a greater effect than being relatively close all the time.  Other than that, they had pretty smooth transitions.  And were clean beyond anything I can imagine. Score: 7/10
First Impression – Even ignoring their pre-existing fanbase, it is easy to see that they have something that will be impressive to watch, if they can incorporate more styles of dance in there.  This performance was Wow moment heavy.  Having week after week of that could get old.  So My suggestion: Mix it up a bit. Build up to your moments so that each moment has more meaning and impact. Score: 8/10
Highlight – Most people would say their “rubiks cube” piece was their best.  I disagree. Personally I always get chills whenever I see Jaja freaking out at the hands around her. 
Total: 32/40
Comments for Next Week: Mix it up.  I know you guys have more variety than this.  Use up more of the stage.  You have fewer members than a lot of crews and when you’re all clumped together it seems even smaller.
Phunk Phenomenon – PP – A Milli
Choreo – They definitely have choreography. It wasn’t just freestyle or wow moments.  Best part of it all was that they had mad musicality.  Possibly one of the best I’ve seen.  Yet, they also had lots and lots of swagger. Best description I can give is that they’re somewhere between Blueprint and Hype.  More swagger than Blueprint, and a little cleaner than Hype was.  Even the simplest parts were very entertaining Score: 9/10
Wow – The thing is, this crew had a lot of good wow moments as well.  They were more bboy based than tutting based, but they were there nonetheless.  Toward the beginning there was this flip that came out of nowhere that was timed perfectly.  Bebo’s turtles were pretty good, as well as his “gargoyle freeze.”  Of course there was that superman out of nowhere that probably won them 2nd Place HHI US 2010.  Perhaps the best part of this was that they wow moments were spaced appropriately to match the music. The only problem I can see was that Bebo had a bit of trouble with his longer bboy section. Hopefully in the future they don’t rely on Bebo solely for their Wow moments like Blueprint did with Bboy Hero. Score: 8/10
Showmanship – Mad energy while still controlled? Check.  Pacing of wow moments and choreo? Check.  Formations and transitions?  Check.  The only thing was that it was a *tad* sloppy from the amount of energy they had.  Also, their framing could have been a bit better toward the middle, since it was a little generic.  Score: 8/10
First Impression – Granted most of what I’ve seen from this crew is from their larger company and their year old HHI set.  Still, these guys could easily make top 3 or 4 at this point.  Score: 7/10
Highlight – Superman bellyflop.  I’m boggled how he didn’t have the wind knocked outta him.
Total: 32/40
Comments for Next Week: Keep up the pace, but bring a different flavor of choreography each week.  Also, we will notice if one person does the power moves each week, so mix it up.
Request (RQ) – Knockout
Choreo – They eschewed all other parts of their performance for this and it showed.  Fierce, High energy, sassy.  This is why they are World Champions at the moment.  Score: 10/10
Wow – Unfortunately, they were lacking here.  While they did impress and make us go wow with some theatre moments and energy, there was no real defining moment. Not that it needs one, but if I can’t remember how exactly the performance flowed, that’s not good.  The only one that comes close is them rocking out around the edge of the stage. Score: 6/10
Showmanship – Use of stage was great, especially with how many people they had.  Energy was amazing.  Levels, blocking, formations were great.  Theatrics good. The only complaint is that it got busy.  For once ABDC cameras helped because I probably wouldn’t have known where to look on stage if I had seen the whole thing.  Score: 8/10
First Impression – Honestly it could have been better.  But it could have been a lot worse.  They had swag and energy and scared me *almost* as much as Tight Eyez.  Which can’t be a bad thing.  Score: 8/10
Highlight – The haka inspired bit.  I do like being able to pick out other influences on choreography so this was a treat.
Total: 32/40
Comments for Next Week: I know you guys are a choreo based crew that doesn’t do tricks.  But If you can maybe frame a member and show some individuality rather than a single mass of Red Hair, that would be mixing things up, which people like.
Eclectic Gentlemn (EG) - Fireman
Choreo – The opening was okay.  The problem with their choreo was that there was no real variation to it.  Like, they were just upright the whole time, and maybe changed the way they were tilting.  Also, a lot of good choreo sets have different people doing different things aside from mirroring it around the center person.  That lack of variation and relative simplicity of the choreography was lacking let something lacking.  Their change in pace was pretty good though.  Score: 7/10
Wow – Sigh.  Their tutting was okay, but not great. The flips were generic.  The Firetruck was a failed attempt, especially after Hype’s vehicles and even Legendary Seven’s Bellycopter. Nothing really stood out as not having been done better by someone even this episode alone. Score: 6/10
Showmanship – A lack of energy has been plaguing this crew since pre-show videos.  Their transitions were horribly generic, I’m surprised JC didn’t call them out for walking.  The thing is Fireman is a fast song but there was no crazy energy behind it.  No real mixed levels, or variation in presentation. Like I said before, their saving grace is their changes in pace. Score: 6/10
First Impression – Honestly, that lack of energy did them in. Maybe they really did want it.  But good performers are able to express that across.  And they did not.  Score: 6/10
Highlight – The opening.  It was pretty creative and a good start that seemed promising.
Total: 25/40
Street Kingdoms (SK) – I Am Not a Human Being
Choreo – I was surprised. Pure unadulterated krump is the antithesis of choreography.  Everything in krump is freestyle.  Clean?  Out the window.  Coordinated? Out the window.  Yet SK was able to, despite their large numbers, give us decent choreography.  Not the most mindblowing.  But it got the job done.  Score: 7/10
Wow –  So they didn’t do flips.  Or Tutting. But those freestyles.  My god they were so buck and so raw and yet so passionate at the same time.  What I liked best was that even though they went off, it wasn’t just one person.  Everyone got involved. Maybe it’s the novelty of Krump.  Maybe it’s something more.  But I literally don’t breathe from the moment Tight Eyez starts krumping full out until the end of the routine. Score: 9/10
Showmanship – Energy – mad energy, almost more than any crew I can think of.  There’s just this aura of confidence that accompanies them.  Stage use – hard not to fill the stage with that many people; Rather they filled it without crowding too much.  The only issues I had was the crazy camera angles for the ending, though it seemed a bit slow.  Opening may have been a tad slow too.  Blocking and transitions could be neater, but that comes with time.  Score: 8/10
First Impression – Idk what it is.  Maybe it’s the fact that Tight Eyez makes me want to [censored] my pants whenever he looks at the camera.  Maybe it’s their rep. Do I see them winning the whole show?  Maybe, maybe not.  However, they will be a force to be reckoned with by virtue of how their primary venue of dancing is battling (and 12 years undefeated…).  Any crew that faces them in the bottom 2… Had better be willing to fight fire with fire.  Plus their soul and literally religious dedication to krump deserves respect.  Scariness + Potential for game changer + Zealousness = Good first impression.  Score: 8/10
Highlight – Tight Eyez’s solo.  That is why he is undefeated in battle for 12 years.
Total: 32/40
Comments for next week: Do stuff other than krumping. I know they do different styles.  Much like last season, Poreo did their own “popping-choreo-robo” style until week 5 when they brought out some bboy.  So if they choose to ride this krump wave until then, then that’s their choice.  Whether they win or not, they represent krump well.
Overall results (cumulative and for the night):
1) 32 - IaMmE, Phunk Phenomenon, ReQuest, Street Kingdom
5) 25 – Eclectic Gentlemen (eliminated)

Miscellaneous Thoughts
-New Opening.  Snazzy.  THA TROOF
-Dtrix is a really really good judge. Like he knows what he’s talking about but stays… classy… so far.
-Opening Number was pretty dope, Especially for 5 crews with two of the largest crews ever on the stage.